Specifically Speaking with Bret Emerson

President and owner of Commtech Design Inc. based in Rockford, Mich.
 - 
Wednesday, August 1, 2018

What kinds of systems do you design/specify and what services does the company provide?

We are a technology design company. I am a BICSI RCDD and started out designing CAT-5 cabling. As the industry grew I added specialties. I have been providing consultation services and designing technology systems since 1994, and my project experience ranges from single-building offices to 100-building university campuses installations.

What vertical markets does the company specialize in? Any interesting projects that you can mention?

We specialize in K-12 schools, universities and correctional facilities. Over the past 4 years we have designed new video security systems for 30 prisons in Michigan. We designed an entirely new Ethernet network backbone consisting of new fiber cabling, exterior rated cabinets at the perimeter and between 200 and 400 new cameras at each site.

How did you get started in security and designing/specifying?

I was designing data cabling systems and as access control and video security systems started becoming more prevalent they started looking at me for support. I knew that data cabling design was a little bit of a commodity and that there was room to distinguish me and my firm in the security design world. I immersed myself in learning about the different systems and how they connected, how they were designed and how they worked.

Can you talk about what new or emerging technologies you are seeing or specifying today?

Access control and all its different ways of controlling doors and allowing or declining access is the leading edge of what we are doing in the design phase. Some access control companies are pushing networking to a panel at the door. Some of our clients, and we as designers, like the centralized panel solution because it is easier to troubleshoot. A client or vendor does not need to go into the ceiling to find a panel at the door.

We also work with many schools in identifying how to secure their front entry and screen people before and as they enter the office. Each school has different ideas about how they want to do this, so we work with them to come up with the best solution(s).

What is your view on the industry moving forward?

I am bullish on the industry as a whole. I think that there will be updates and new approaches to access control and how you secure a building for employees and visitors. Video security systems will need to adjust to higher resolution cameras and the desire to keep video for longer periods of time. The industry will also need to keep making access to video, especially mobile video from cars and body cameras accessible and searchable. With the vast amounts of video being recorded, accurately accessing that video is of vital importance.